Pak Law Minister may have finalised Constitutional package for sacked judges

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Karachi, Apr.7 : Pakistan's Law and Justice Minister Farooq H Naek has reportedly prepared a "Constitutional Package" that could determine the future of the over 60 judges sacked by the Musharraf regime on November 2-3, 2007. Sources told The Nation on condition of anonymity that this package has been forwarded to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and will be sent later to parliament for its approval. According to the package, all deposed judges will be restored and Provisional Constitutional Order-appointed judges will also remain in their seats. A Parliamentary Committee will also be formed which will decide the destiny of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) by analysing case-to-case judgment.

The package will also fix the tenure of the CJP up to three years which will reduce the tenure of deposed CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. According to the source, an amendment will be included in the Constitutional Package to allow a retiring Supreme Court Chief Justice to serve as a judge in the Supreme Court after completion of his tenure if he had some time left in service period. The Parliamentary Committee will also appoint the judges on merit by analysing their decisions while all the judges will work in their posts till the decision of Parliamentary Committee.

The Constitutional Package also bears an 18th amendment, which will abolish all amendments from 1999 and will restore the 1973 Constitution. The amendment also proposes to abolish Article 58 (2) b, which empowers the President to dissolve the government and the parliament. After the removal of Article 58(2) b, the President will not be able to impose emergency and appoint governors of the provinces. The power for the appointment of governors will be transferred to Prime Minister while high ranking army officers will also be appointed on the orders of the Prime Minister. The source also disclosed that the package will also provide a support to National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and it will not be challengeable in any court. The source said that some articles in the package will give Constitutional support to the NRO as the beneficiaries of this order have already got courts orders.

The package will also propose some judicial and jail reforms while relief packages for lawyers and judges have also been included in the package. It is pertinent to mention here that if the package is approved by parliament and implemented, sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chauhdry's tenure will end in June this year, instead of in 2013. The Constitutional order which will be made public in a few days is expected to invite objections.

ANI

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